When you think of visiting the San Diego area, your mind likely jumps to a beach vacation. However, I’m about to sway you otherwise and introduce you to an area property that’s not just a hotel, but an experience.
As one of only 14 properties in the world to earn the prestigious Triple Five-Star award rating, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a destination that will leave your family fabulously pampered. Magnificently situated on 400 acres of pristine coastal canyon, the massive Old World estate is rich in detail, mimicking classic 1920s Hollywood glamour with architectural and decor surprises around every corner.
The gated property sits among lush fairways of an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course- but it’s not just a destination for swinging clubs. There are plenty of on-site activities: hiking, horseback riding, archery, and swimming... but we’ll dive into that later. First, let’s talk about the accommodations.
We had adjoining rooms- one for us and one for the kids (which I’ve learned is the ideal way to go when traveling with children). We were greeted with a plush king bed, balcony, and a dreamy view... and the boys were welcomed with an in-room glamping experience: a lit tent, lantern, cookies, and games. As you can assume, they were in heaven. The bathrooms are huge (and ideal for bubble bathing) and everything is dressed to perfection, such as the layers of curtains and framed televisions.
If you need your beach fix, the hotel is minutes from the Pacific- a quick drive to Torrey Pines State Park. However, I’m pretty sure you’ll be occupied just fine not leaving the property...
Sure, there’s a golf course and state-of-the-art spa, but I’m all about the resort’s abundance of family activities.
Set against the pristine Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is celebrating the return of its equestrian program with the debut of one of Southern California’s most exquisite equestrian centers... and we got a taste of the incredible offerings.
Catering to all ages and experience levels, book a ride to experience one of the resort’s more than 37 miles of riding trails. Led by world-class trainers, top instructors and a stable of friendly horses, you’ll fall in love with the majestic animals and the beauty that surrounds them.
My four-year-old got to loop the riding arena via pony-back and even got to feed his horsey cookies and carrots. My husband and I brought our older boys (ages 8 and 7) on an hour-long ride; it was stunning and so very special. It’s so important to instill a care, love, and respect for animals in our children, and this was the perfect place to do so. My oldest son rode Ghost, a rare albino Paso Fino. (BTW, the riding trails are also available to hike.)
Wondering where our youngest was during our horse ride with the older boys? If you guessed the hotel’s Kid’s Club- you’re right.
If you’re craving some adult time, drop the littles off at The Grand’s haven for kids. The club, available on a reserve basis, is professionally supervised and packed with art, games, arcades and more. And for kids ages 8+, opt for on-site archery. The Fairmont’s recreation team will teach you how to shoot through the adventurous complimentary experience available by reservation.
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar has four heated pools and they’re all lovely. Picturesque and surrounded by plush seating, cabanas, food/drink service and more, soak in the sun poolside while the kids splash around. Take a seat in the white sand under the palm trees and dance to underwater music, then warm up in the Jacuzzi. And I must say, the architectural details surrounding the pools are Insta-worthy.
Finally, a San Diego vacay isn’t complete without hitting the courts for a round of tennis or pickleball. Private tennis lessons are offered for all ages if your fam is looking to enhance their skills. You can rent electric bikes as well.
Whether it’s a smoothie from Cent’Anni Café or pancakes from Amaya, kids can enjoy delicious eats across the resort. The Fairmont Grand Del Mar has a Children’s Dining Program; kids five and under eat free and kids 6-12 years eat for 50% off when ordering from Amaya’s comfort menu with an adult guest. My boys felt like little princes indulging in daily delectable room service breakfast, and for dinner, we fine dined at Amaya, contemporary eatery that welcomes children. Also, worth mentioning, the property flaunts San Diego’s only Michelin-two-star restaurant: Addison (for adults only).